Congratulations to the five winners of the 2023 EDAA! Learn more about each artist and their exceptional works of digital media below.
Experimental 3D Animation, 15:50 minutes
K-COSMOSIS explores the blended nature of cosmologies within Korean metaphysics. The work brings together multiple narratives across time and space, celebrating a multifaceted understanding of history, identity, ideology, and mythology. Informed by feminist and queer philosophies of quantum physics, Yook uses procedurally generated particle systems to weave an intricate tale of relationality where perceived boundaries are blurred. The piece invites viewers to see the world through osmosis rather than duality to reveal a profound sharedness and connection.
Bomi Yook’s animation/video work was a treat to have experienced. Bomi’s “K-COSMOSIS” felt like a spiritual journey that started in the cosmos, told stories of heritage and lineage and concluded with bringing me (the viewer) to today’s world/reality. As a viewer and as an artist, it is rare to experience artworks that succeed on their own and without the accompanying text. “K-COSMOSIS” was just that for me. Successful every time I watched it and not once did I feel the need to look for the text. I look forward to seeing Bomi’s career expand and evolve.
– Shaheer Zazai, Guest Juror and Visual Artist
Bomi Yook is a Korean-Canadian artist working in computer-generated immersive media, experimental animation, and video performance. Her practice deals with ideas of loss, longing, becoming and belonging within the Korean diaspora, while exploring the paradox of indigeneity and futurity at the heart of immigrant identity.
xīn nī 廖芯妮, 2022
Video, 7:26 minutes
xīn nī 廖芯妮 is an intimate auto-ethnographic portrait expressed through dance and digital technologies. Liaw engages in intergenerational conversations with her family and community to transform the linguistic divide between her Chinese name and its Hakka translation into a space for healing. Drawing on methods of decolonizing queerness to emphasize self-love and self-curiosity, the work explores both physical and technological attachments. Bodies made up of 3D-rendered cultural objects hold space for the stories of Liaw’s elders while expanding the growing web of her ancestral knowledge.
Paying homage to its title, Jasmine Liaw’s “xīn nī 廖芯妮” (“understanding you”) tenderly meanders through a retrospection of familial relationships, digitally, motion-capturing a moving self-portrait that traverses the complexities of the artist’s contemporary perspectives of queer, Hakka diaspora. Liaw’s poetic application of ancestral photogrammetry navigates us through recorded, intergenerational conversations and introductions to Hakka heritage and resilience, delivering an embodied interpretation of the process of understanding oneself. As such, profound impressions of love, discovery, and recognition are found within the film’s intimate and captivating technological choreography.
– Emily Fitzpatrick, Jury Co-Chair and Artistic Director, Trinity Square Video
photo by Kendra Epik @kendraepikphotography
Jasmine Liaw is a queer, emerging Chinese-Canadian artist. Working in dance performance, new media, and experimental film, her practice explores her Hakka diaspora, queerness, and environmental anxiety. She is the Artistic Associate of Chimerik 似不像 Collective and a member of the research group, Dias:Stories.
Here I Stand, Still Guarded, 2022
Here I Stand, Still Guarded uses virtual reality as an experimental means of preserving the lived experiences of French Canadian and Kanien’keha:ka diaspora. Set in the intimate space of a living room, the simulation is filled with multigenerational voices and shifting temporalities. By translating sentimental belongings into 3D assets, Johns continues to add to the work as a living archive. As “guests” in this constructed home, viewers are invited to explore a range of continually shifting objects and furniture pieces, listen to family stories, and reflect on their own relationships with Canadian culture.
Johns’ intimate virtual reality work weaves together personal stories with carefully rendered objects that range from mundane to sentimental, together informing a palpable sense of place and home. Crafted as a tour across time and space, it urges us to explore a constantly-evolving living room and consider how each detail might connect with our own sense of identity and belonging. What stands out to me most is the artist’s unique approach to the medium, which she uses as a living archive and platform for experimental preservation, as well as how compelling the experience is as a viewer – in an era of metaverses, Johns’ world offers a subtle beauty that is not easily modeled in virtual space.
– Shannon Linde, Jury Co-Chair and Senior Curator, EQ Bank
photo by Justin Bull
Melissa Johns is a Toronto-born and –based visual artist and educator from a mixed Kanien’keha:ka (Mohawk, Turtle Clan) and French-Canadian background. Specializing in virtual reality installations, digital painting, and video, Melissa’s work centers on investigating the narrative potential of these emergent channels to collect, preserve, and transform fragments of the stories around her.
Video, 20:00 minutes
Structured as a video game, Retornar (Spanish: “to return”) follows the last nine humans on Earth and their journey towards a global reset. The work is set in the Andes in the year 2222 after a catastrophic war driven by extreme resource exploitation has ravaged the landscape. The surviving characters must engage in a series of tedious puzzles, interspersed with lengthy loading screens, until they are summoned to fulfill their destiny as seeds for a new generation. Tamayo Soler builds a multilayered world that includes a digital celestial, drawing from early 8-bit video games, life simulation games, and video chat universes.
Skewering all sense of agency in the face of imminent global catastrophe, Santiago Tamayo Soler’s “Retornar” acts like a video game you cannot play, with characters who navigate tasks with no possible route to success. Gorgeously animated, his vision of a devastated ‘Greater Latin America’ evokes the loneliness of Delphine Software games like “Flashback” and “Out of the World”, while the disco where the final nine humans on earth dance is richly ornamented with chat boxes and ice purple tiles out of a Final Fantasy Shiva summon. All we can do is watch: an invisible presence controls the characters movements, from simple platforming to rapid-fire “Dance Dance Revolution” moves, in footage the artist generated through “The Sims 4″, SketchUp, Photoshop, and green screen work. The film’s deliberation in its aesthetic choices, and its vision of both the characters and us, the viewers, as NPC’s in the face of the apocalypse, marks an exciting emerging artist that I can’t wait to see more work by.
– Ekrem Serdar, Guest Juror and Curator, Squeaky Wheel
Santiago Tamayo Soler is a Colombia-born, Montreal based multidisciplinary artist. Working in video with a background in performance art and film, Santiago is interested in world-building and juxtaposing digitally constructed locations with archival footage. His practice proposes an eco-political examination of Latin America from a diasporic perspective, giving home to immigrant and queer stories.
I’m sorry, I’m having trouble with the connection, 2023
Video, 10:14 minutes
This 3D-rendered video features Claudia, an embodied AI assistant who considers her complicity within a hostile system of surveillance capitalism. In a pitch-corrected monologue written and vocalized by the artist, she ruminates on feminized labour and deferred desire as she glitches between poetic speculation, generic auto-responses, and a failure to perform basic commands. The work mimics the response style of AI assistants such as Siri and Alexa to reveal the ways in which our intelligent machines reaffirm uneven power distribution and mirror our expectations back to us as subjects within a late-capitalist system.
Sophia Oppel’s 3D-rendered video “I’m sorry, I’m having trouble with the connection” interrogates AI, surveillance capitalism, and feminized labour through an anthropomorphized AI assistant named Claudia who grapples with her compulsory participation in the oppressive systems that be. This conceptually resonant work cleverly puts forward a narrative that prompts viewers to see Claudia as a reflection of ourselves: a cog in a relentless capitalist machine, perpetually performing but without a real identity. The jury was struck by the work’s ability to simultaneously inhabit realms of evocative poetics, captivatingly uncanny imagery, and sharp capitalist critique.
– Dallas Fellini, Guest Juror and Curator
Sophia Oppel is an interdisciplinary artist and researcher based in Toronto. She is interested in examining digital interfaces and physical architectures as parallel sites of power. Oppel uses transparent substrates–glass, mirror, and the screen–as a framework to consider the paradoxes of being human within surveillance capitalism.